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Sean, Ryan, Geoff, and Suzanne

August 18-24, 2016
Written August 18+
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

d160816_10_commons.jpgMost of this diary is about a family visit, but before we get there, we need a record of one more street party.  This was a going away fest for Daniella, who was heading off to the University of California at Berkley after years of growing up on Cambridge Avenue.  We wish her all the luck in the world.  (It turned out to be Kent's birthday as well, so we needed to have twice the food and drink of our normal gatherings. We managed.)

A family visit.  Yeah!  Geoff, Suzanne, Ryan, and Sean made the long trip from Maryland and I do mean long.  Their Virgin America flight, routed from Washington to Dallas to LA, got hung up a bit in the middle stop, making it a very long flight.  Then, after a short overnight in LA, they enjoyed a four-hour drive up through the central valley. 
After all that, the four folded out of the red rental car at our house, eager to stop traveling. 
d160818_06_candles.jpgOur first event was a birthday party for Sean.  His real 4th birthday was just a couple of days ago, so we took advantage of the visit to celebrate with cupcakes and presents.  He didn't object about the slight delay.  Nor did big brother.

Just to make sure the jet-lagged folks didn't fall asleep on us, we jumped in the cars and drove over to Mamo's for some pool time, followed by pizza.  Mamo loved the excitement.  Ryan kept active after all the rest of us gave up. Sean faded, but revived enough to munch a bit of pizza.   And all four Maryland visitors were asleep soon after we returned home. 

On Friday, our first planned event was a baseball game at 7pm, so the day was spent resting and (pretty) quietly playing.

d160819_09_tickets.jpgWhen it came time to cheer for the Fresno Grizzlies, we joined neighbors and headed to Suite #25, courtesy of neighbor Steve and his equipment-supply business.  The luxury box was indeed a real treat, with both open and air conditioned seating. A good time was had by all, but I must admit that everyone faded before the game ended.   Geoff and family had a jet lag excuse, but the rest of us just claimed old age, I think.
Chukchansi Park is reputedly the nicest AAA baseball park in the country and I would not argue, based on our warm summer-evening treat.  Thanks, Steve!!

d160820_02_intocats.jpgOn Saturday we went to one of our own favorites: Cat Haven.  The cats were entertaining and I think the kids liked them.  I know they liked the snow cone at the end.
Followup to cats, we decided National Parks would be too challenging, so we opted for another swim at Mamo's.  Seemed fun.

d160821_02_entrance.jpgSunday brought us to Storyland-Playland, our first visit to this recently reopened little attraction.  The Storyland part started with a magic show, maybe not awe-inspiring, but good for the audience.  From there, we wandered past the children's characters, into a castle and onto rides pretty much perfect for four-year-old Sean.  Every once in awhile, we even caught his older brother having fun.
d160821_16_playland.jpgThe other part of the park, Playland, had rides that Sean chose to avoid, giving Oma and Opa a chance to rest.  The rest of the crew went off to test a few rides.  Not sure there are Disneyland-quality or size attractions, but ok for a neighborhood attraction.  We will be back with other grandkids.

Later, the visitors struck out on their own and found Discovery Gardens.  They came back with good reviews, so it's another Fresno attraction we need to add to our grandkid list.

d160822_02_skywalk.jpgd160822_10_area.jpgMonday's single known goal was Skywalk, a trampoline and climbing space. We had visited a couple of years ago with Ava and Sam and a scouting visit last week indicated that it is now even better equipped and, we hope, more fun.
Starting out, Ryan was eager to start, but Sean was a bit worried. 

Inside the play area Ryan did indeed jump right in, but Sean took only a few minutes to get comfortable with all the trampolines.  Dad also got into the action right away.  An hour of this activity made me tired and all I was doing was taking pictures.
We all worked up an appetite too, so we headed over to IHOP to join Marianne and Mamo for lunch.   Never can have too many carbs!  (This whole visit, like any other visit we have hosted, has not been good for diet or exercise, but the splurges don't happen very often.) d160822_40_dinner.jpg

Afternoon was quiet as the family started organizing for the next day's departure. Part of the preparation was a dinner out for Geoff and Suzanne, so Oma and Opa needed to make mac and cheese back home.  Somehow, all kids like mac and cheese, but I'll admit making it did not entice me.  To each his own.  In any event, it was fun having the two boys to ourselves and we may have communicated more in these couple of hours than in most of the stay.  Interesting.

On Tuesday morning, it was an early departure to near LAX Airport - and near the beach.  Reports are that the beach turned out well, as one should expect.

Now the team is flying back to jobs this week and schools next week.  Meanwhile, Oma and Opa return to our quiet routine, a routine that can be interrupted anytime!

John and Marianne


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